Coming to Terms With My Sexless Marriage

I love my husband and the life he has made possible for us.  However, there is a side to our marriage kept hidden–a side almost no one is privy to. 

My husband is a lot of things to me: a friend, companion, provider, co-parent, and roommate.  He fulfills my need for stability and security.  This is a modern-day marriage of convenience, a partnership of collaboration.  We wanted to be parents, but being a single parent wasn’t as appealing as coming together to raise a child together.  For the most part, we have the same values and belief systems. We share the same enjoyment of parenthood and yet can appreciate the differences each of us contributes to our son’s upbringing. (Not to say we don’t ever fight about it; we disagree on a lot, as two independent-minded people do.) By combining our assets, we are able to make our lifestyle work and create a life that keeps us both comfortable and less stressed.  We are gaining financial independence and can afford things that on our own would be out of reach. 

While we never sat down and made a mutual decision that this is how it would be, it was an unspoken expectation . . . or so it seemed. I was naïve and thought the rest would fall into place.

Coming home and knowing there will always be someone there meets a most basic human need for connection.  I have a stressful job, coming home just to eat, shower, and sleep before doing it over for several nights in a row. Through all this, I have total confidence that he will take care of the rest and keep things humming along in my absence.  I extend the same courtesy to him.  I give him uninterrupted time after work to watch sports, play on his phone, or run an errand by himself when he needs it. 

As introverts, having each other around during family events and social outings takes a huge burden off of both of us.  He isn’t the greatest conversationalist; his thoughts and ideas are kept mostly to himself.  He is a private person, so pressuring him to talk will backfire.  Our conversations are far from deep and I still feel like I hardly scratched the surface of who my husband really is.  After 10 years, he has yet to tell me anything about his childhood, his travels abroad, his philosophy on life, where he sees himself in the future, or any other profound insights.

In public, my husband and I hold hands, hug, kiss, and look like most other couples.  At home, we show some (more subtle) affection in front of our son.  Mostly because we want him to be secure that his parents love each other. There is definitely more affection towards our son than towards each other. In all honesty, we love our son more than we love each other.   

Sounds great, right? Not quite.

My husband and I share no romance, no intimacy, and we are not lovers. 

This doesn’t mean we aren’t monogamous…we are.  This is, and always has been, a lot harder for me than for him.  I was always in relationships where the physical aspect was the best and easiest part.  Even going back to our dating days, sexuality didn’t seem to be on his radar at all.  There always seemed to be some stressful life event to attribute his low libido to.  On one occasion, I met him at my door in new lingerie, and his only comment was, “My favorite show is on.”  It was (and still is) a tough struggle when other guys showed interest in me. I miss being desired, and it was near impossible not to jump at the chance! 

Side note: Anyone want to take a guess at how hard making a baby is when your husband (who is not gay, and claims he is attracted to you) seems disgusted with the act?  Near impossible!  

There have been a couple of times where it got to be too much, and I got resentful and wanted to explore other options.  I gave him several options and ultimatums: separate our sex lives entirely, go to sex therapy, divorce, etc.  I couldn’t in good conscience cheat on him without his permission or knowledge.  If I was going to admit failure and go that route, then I needed everyone to be comfortable with it. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I needed something.

I wasn’t happy. 

I needed to figure out what I wanted and what was important long-term for me and my soul.

my sexless marriage

Living in a marriage devoid of romance, passion, and intimacy has been a slow process of acceptance and nuance.  I have made a conscious choice every day to stay in this marriage.  It could be a lot worse.  I rationalize that I would rather have a marriage where I know my son and I are well-provided for and loved by a partner that is always present, supportive, and respectful. Furthermore, it is a lot of pressure to expect one person to fill all the roles of companion, contributor (financial and workload), supporter (emotional and otherwise), lover, involved co-parent, conversationalist, and roommate that happens to share the same values, practices, and ideals as you without being TOO much like you. 

But I still miss the passion every day.

My sexless marriage, devoid of passion and romance, has been a very hard adjustment for me to come to terms with. It is far from ideal or what marriage was built-up to be in my mind, and I have been okay with that . . . until now. 

Writing these feelings and seeing it in front of me has made me really question:  

How did I get here?  

Why have I stayed this long? 

Life is too short to submit idly to someone else’s comfort while ignoring my own basic needs and what I want for my future.  Today, I am taking off my little white gloves and asking for a divorce. 



  1. My husband of 22 years shows no interest in sex. I have to become with him which leads to an argument. He will then say things like ” fine I’ll have sex with you then!” I’m heartbroken and feel very much alone. I’ve suffered through ED, Premature, no sex for months and finally he went to the doctor after 17 years of it all. Diagnosed with low testosterone. After all those years of feeling ugly, lonely, lost, helpless…. there was an answer. Sadly things have remained the same. He becomes bitter and nasty when I mention how long it’s been since we’ve had sex. I’m all cried out, my heart can not possibly shatter any further and my kids are beyond over the constant arguing. I just don’t know how to walk away from a marriage I thought would be forever.

    • See a therapist for yourself. You deserve support working through these difficult questions.
      I will never understand how someone can say
      “I don’t want to have sex with you, but don’t you dare leave, or go have sex with someone else or I’ll see yo it that your life becomes a living hell.”
      In my opinion it’s emotional abuse. If you can’t fulfill your marital role and provide sexual love, then you should be willing to offer a viable alternative to your spouse or accept a divorce. Anything else is playing a wicked game with someone else’s unmet needs, someone you claim to love.

  2. I am in a marriage that truly is sexless, I have the same story…nothing special from anyone elses accept I am ill now..I am sure from all the stress of trying to understand a man that says he isn’t gay and that he finds me attractive, It isn’t worth it. If you are healthy…run from this..truly before it is too late. I will die knowing I was never really loved and used as a cook and comfort. That is what I am. A comfort when he comes home that someone is in the house.

  3. I can COMPLETELY relate to the writers story, to the letter almost, but I didn’t go into my marriage thinking I’d be giving up sex, intimacy, passion, desirability, or that it would stay that way.

    My husband fooled me. He gave me just enough of what I was needing, in the beginning, to make sure he “hooked” me. We had a great foundation of love and close friendship, romance and attraction after 3 years of dating, with shared interests, goals and values… or so I thought. I truly believe he never had any interest in sex, and after a year or two of just barely providing for my sexual needs after marriage, it stopped abruptly and completely with no real explanation. He’d just say that I was everything to him. That I gave him all he ever wanted and he was completely satisfied with me. I’d say, “what about me and my satisfaction, and needs?”.

    He is a nice person. Doesnt drink, smoke, cheat or do drugs, and he has a great sense of humor…but that’s where it stops. We havent slept together, had sex, real intimacy or even “made out” in more than 22 years!!!

    I was attractive and desirable when we met, dated and married. Out of depression and health problems primarily brought on by my empty marriage all these years, I’m now 60, fat and unhappy. I’ve lost myself, my zest, my drive and my self esteem. I stayed for the first 18 years because of our daughter. (I too know how hard it is to get pregnant with man who doesnt want sex). And I’m still here because of God’s view of marriage…and because I’m afraid that if I leave, I’ll be alone for the rest of my life.

    Anyone who is considering entering marriage with a low or no sex partner thinking things will get better? Let me assure you, they will only get worse. But by the time you’re fed up….your life, money, kids, home, etc., will be too entwined with theirs to leave. So do it now, before it’s too late for you!! Please, don’t fantasize that things will get better once you tie the knot. They wont!!!

    I give the writer so much credit for having the guts to leave. If money were not a problem, I’d be more capable of seriously considering it now. But we don’t even have the money for a divorce! When I was single, I was independent and very financially successful. I was the major breadwinner throughout our marriage, but I ended my career 4 years ago due to personal convictions and illness, and have to depend on him for help.

    This man has not been a lover, provider, protector, family leader nor even a handyman! He’s helpless. He is college educated with 45 years in his profession, and yet is barely making minimum wage! He had me so fooled in the beginning!!! Now, I feel like my feet are in cement… and I’m stuck. Very possibly for the rest of my life. Don’t do what I’ve done, and waste your love on someone who doesnt deserve it.


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